What if your blog actually changed based on who was visiting it? You might get way more opt-ins and sales, right? It is called onsite retargeting. And we’re looking now at two tools which do it: RightMessage and ConvertFlow.
What if your blog actually changed to suit individual visitors based on who they are and what they might be ready to act upon?
Rather than showing the same calls to action across your blog in a static fashion, you could custom tailor everything to specific visitors.
You might get more opt-ins? More sales?
That’s the idea. It is called onsite retargeting.
Since the perfect blog would be set up, from top to bottom, to be a strategic content marketing environment, then ideally your blog would react according to who they are. For instance:
- Show different calls to action for people who are already subscribed than those who are not.
- Show different calls to action based on information you know about a visitor, including interests, demographics, etc.
- If a person has already bought a certain product, avoid showing CTAs for that product and instead show something else.
- Show targeted offers to people based on what they’ve already purchased so that your blog actually helps move people along in your sales funnel.
For many bloggers who are moving into more developed marketing strategies, it is a major step up to move from a newsletter-oriented email list provider like Mailchimp or Aweber… and move into a marketing automation platform like Drip or ActiveCampaign.
In a similar fashion, it would be a step up for a blogger to move from a general opt-in form manager plugin like Thrive Leads or OptinMonster… and step into an onsite retargeting platform. In essence, it turns your blog into a marketing automation platform.
By presenting the right offers, to the right person, at the right time, you are increasing conversions.
And yes, you can do this with your blog by using the right add-on to your blog marketing tech stack.
Let’s start off with RightMessage…
RightMessage is a powerful tool for onsite retargeting. The real beauty of this tool is that it allows you to edit actual elements on your site rather than simply adding elements to the site.
The tool is broken down into 2 main sections:
- Segment – This is where you set up the various ways you can segment your audience, including sets of questions you can ask to collect information from them.
- Personalize – This is where you can put that segmentation information to use by changing your website depending on the data.
The first thing you do under the “Segment” section is set up your various funnel stages so you can track where people are in the sales cycle. Here’s mine…
One thing that I like is how granular you can get with how you define this stuff. I can tap into my CRM (Drip, in my case) and access the data in there to define where they are in the sales cycle. And while accessing tags within the CRM is something that any tool of this caliber would be able to do, RightMessage also has the ability to work with custom field data.
In my case, the whole sales end of this website is handled by MemberMouse. And MemberMouse integrates directly with Drip and tracks people’s member levels via custom fields. With RightMessage, I can then tap into that data to segment them.
Moving beyond the funnel stages, you can begin to set up questions that will allow you to segment your audience in any number of ways.
You can, of course, totally control who sees these questions as well as where they appear on your site. But, every time a visitor answers one of these questions, you are collecting more information about them. It can all be synced back to your CRM, thereby allowing you to trigger certain email campaigns and automations based on their answers.
In the “Personalize” section of the tool is where you begin to USE this data to do actual onsite retargeting.
One of the basic tools they have is called RightBar. It is a simple sticky bar at the top of your site which you can customize depending on what stage of the funnel they are in. So, in my case, I could show a different RightBar to monthly Lab members than I do to annual or lifetime members. One handy use of this, for me, would be to show a RightBar to monthly members providing them an upgrade offer to annual.
RightBar is cool, but honestly it is a little limited. There’s very little customization available and you only have one set of bars to use. Word is that the company is soon going to be radically expanding this into something called RightCTA. It will move beyond simply top bars into various other kinds of calls to action with much more flexibility, thereby putting RightMessage more on par with ConvertFlow in terms of what it can do.
However, one area where RightMessage indeed shines is it’s ability to personalize your actual website. While other tools (like ConvertFlow) work with forms and widgets of various types, RightMessage can manipulate your actual website. For instance, you could change the headline on a landing page or your homepage based on the personalized information on that visitor.
Do to this, you use Campaigns. Rather than try to walk you through this in text and images, it might be better if I just show it to you. Here’s a video…
RightMessage is very powerful. At the time of this writing, the differences between it and ConvertFlow are rather stark. ConvertFlow will control sections and widgets on your site while RightMessage is quite limited in that. On the flip side, RightMessage can alter your actual website and ConvertFlow cannot do that. Once RightMessage officially comes out with their full RightCTA suite, there will be greater overlap.
RightMessage pricing is dependent on site traffic. You can start as low as $19/month, however that’s for the Survey plan at under 10,000 uniques monthly. The Survey plan would only give you the ability to ask questions and learn more about your audience. There are other ways to do that, however, and I can’t see any need for their Survey Plan.
To get all the good stuff, you’d need their Personalization Plan. That starts at $79/month. At the traffic level of the Blog Marketing Academy as of this writing, it would cost me $149/month.
- Very granular integration with CRM, including use of custom field data and not only tags.
- Ability to personalize your actual website (not just widgets and sections)
- Currently limited to RightBar in terms of actual widgets. That’s highly limited compared to ConvertFlow, however RightCTA will eventually close the gap.
- Stat reporting is delayed 24 hours.
- There seemed to be a real lack of onboarding to help a new person get started. The tool isn’t very difficult, and the help documentation is really great. But, I was on my own without any guidance.
I see RightMessage as a powerful tool that is, on the whole, pretty easy to use. However, I run a pretty large blog with a lot of content. The Blog Marketing Academy isn’t some small company site. I wanted to manage personalization across the entire library of blog posts here at the Academy. It became clear to me that RightMessage wasn’t really geared toward this end. RightMessage’s strength is personalization of site pages, but how I am going to effectively use something like that across a site this big?
So, I moved onto ConvertFlow…
As of this writing, the truth is that ConvertFlow is a different kind of tool than RightMessage. Both tools are aimed at the same goal of site personalization and onsite retargeting, however how they go about it is pretty different.
While RightMessage is aimed primarily at changing your actual website based on who the visitor is, ConvertFlow does it via the use of embedded widgets. In other words, RightMessages changes the site and ConvertFlow adds to the site.
RightMessage is going to expand their feature set with RightCTA to infringe more on the territory of ConvertFlow, however even then there are some things ConvertFlow does that RightMessage simply does not.
When you’re inside the tool, it is broken down into the following sections:
- Calls to Action. This is where you build and manage all the various calls to action across your site.
- Flows. A unique feature that allows you to set up CTAs into structured campaigns that walk the prospect through to certain goals. It bears some similarity to other tools that allow you to design workflows, such as Drip.
- Broadcasts. Allows you to send out high-priority CTAs that override all else.
- Insights. Reporting on how everything is converting.
- Contacts. Real records of all contacts on your site, their information, their avatar photo, and even data collected from public channels like social media accounts.
When you create a call to action, you have several options:
Right off, you see that ConvertFlow has way more flexibility. RM only has the “sticky bar” while CF has way more options.
A very cool feature is that Embedded CTA. This allows you to target specific areas of your site with CTAs. You set those areas up using DIV code with specific Classes, then you set the call to action up to display in that area.
So, if you choose to display a call to action in your blog post footer, you choose that area. Then, whenever your criteria are met to display the call to action, it will show up in the post footer. To set this up, you would need to modify your theme just enough to put that DIV HTML into those spots of your site.
Speaking of display criteria, you have a lot of options, including:
- Page URLs, device types (desktop or mobile), geographic location (city, country), etc.
- Visitor history (including CTAs completed, tags, segmenting information, etc.)
- Tags in your CRM (So, in my case, I can control CTAs based on the tags inside of Drip)
- WordPress targeting (by post, page, category, logged in status, etc.)
Given the options you have, you can get quite granular with how you control calls to action. For instance, you could display a targeted lead magnet on all blog posts in a certain category of your blog. Then, if they already opted in for it, show them a different CTA. And, if they already purchased a certain product (according to your CRM), show them a targeted offer related to that category.
As things develop, you could end up with a whole lot of various calls to action for various things. So, you have Campaign Flows where you can organize them all at once as well as track performance globally.
Using Flows, you can organize groups of CTAs into various stages of your prospect lead cycle. Typically, it’d go something like this:
- Anonymous visitor.
- Email subscriber
- Become a qualified lead (either on a webinar, viewing pricing page, sales page, etc.)
- Buy some product.
- Buy more expensive upsells, or join a membership.
Pretty simple sales funnel structure. But, by setting goals up in your flow in ConvertFlow, you can track what stage of the cycle your visitors are in and therefore control what CTAs they see.
Flows is a powerful feature, but definitely requires some planning to put it to use. As I was playing with it, I did find myself a little paralyzed with it at first. Their documentation did a good job of explaining how it works, however I think they could add several more real-world scenarios and examples of Flows from other businesses to help make more clear how to use this feature. I ended up having to have a chat with Ethan (founder of ConvertFlow) to clarify some things before it sort of “clicked”.
In terms of pricing, ConvertFlow starts out for free. If you have under 500 visits per month and only want to do lead generation, you can use it for free. Of course, 500 visits isn’t much, so the next level up is $29/month… and then $99/month. Only at the $99/month level do you get the retargeting options.
At my traffic levels, ConvertFlow is a better deal than RightMessage. RM would come in at $149/month while CF allows way more traffic for only $99/month. As I said before, however, one must take into account that the two tools do have a different set of capabilities.
- A lot of flexibility in terms of the types of calls to action you can use on your site.
- Granular integration with WordPress, important for those of us who use WordPress as a big part of our business.
- Ability to manage groups of CTAs into organized flows
- Stat reporting is real-time, whereas RightMessage has a 24-hour delay.
- No ability to edit on-site content for personalization. This is an exclusive feature of RightMessage at this time.
- Editing interface for CTAs is powerful, however a bit on the clunky side.
- Also suffers from a lack of guided onboarding. There is a guided tool which walks you though the interface, but I think they could have more real-world case studies to help guide how to set things up. RightMessage has the same problem.
The One I Prefer…
Both of these tools are quite powerful. While both allow onsite retargeting and personalization, they do it in different ways. I even found one guy who said he was using both tools simultaneously, although I think that would be totally unnecessary (and expensive).
Between the tools, I prefer ConvertFlow. Here’s why…
- For blog-based marketing, I think the widget model of personalization is better than actually modifying the content. There are just too many pages on a site like mine. I think on-site personalization would be more suitable to a smaller site with a handful of landing pages.
- ConvertFlow integrates with WordPress to help target specific sections with CTAs.
Since I’m all about blog-based marketing, I think ConvertFlow is the better choice.
ConvertFlow Vs Thrive Leads
As a person who is pretty public with my love for Thrive Themes tools, one must ask the question…
Would ConvertFlow be worth using over something like Thrive Leads?
Certainly, Thrive Leads specializes in managing opt-ins and calls to action across your WordPress blog. And certainly, the pricing is far more favorable. 🙂
You can duplicate a lot of what ConvertFlow does using Thrive Leads. Aside from just call to action design, there’s also that…
- Thrive Leads Smartlinks gives you the ability to show specific CTAs to a person if they click through that link.
- Thrive Leads form States also gives the ability to show a different state if the person is already subscribed.
Using these features, you do have some ability to customize CTAs using Thrive Leads as well, rather than showing the exact same thing to everybody.
Where a solution like ConvertFlow surpasses Thrive Leads is…
- The ability to segment visitors and treat each one individually.
- The ability to pull data from your CRM and act accordingly. While Thrive can push data to the CRM, it cannot pull it and react.
To a large degree, ConvertFlow is a big step up from Thrive Leads. Of course, it is also a big step up in terms of pricing, so you would need to weigh the potential return to you for having this level of personalization on your blog.
As I said at the outset, the use of onsite retargeting is an advanced strategy that brings your blog closer to “perfection” in terms of it’s ability to be a major driver of sales. That said, there are many online businesses making very good money using basic opt-in forms without fancy tools like ConvertFlow or RightMessage. As with any such tool, these are meant to be sales magnifiers, but are no replacement for having awesome offers that convert. In the end, basics are basics and onsite retargeting is not suddenly going to make offers that don’t sell convert.
Using an onsite retargeting tool of this caliber isn’t a necessity. It is certainly something that more advanced businesses could look into using. Most new business or solo bloggers don’t need something like ConvertFlow or RightMessage.
However, if we’re putting together the “perfect” marketing stack for blog marketing, then certainly a tool like ConvertFlow will give your blog the same kind of marketing automation capability that you could expect from a tool like Drip or Infusionsoft.
Doing this kind of thing in email is nothing new. Having your blog set up to move people through the funnel individually is a whole new layer for blog-based marketing that few people have actually done..
This is why I have been looking into these solutions.